I will also bless those who bless you and further you in your journey, and I’ll trip up those who try to trip you along the way. Through your descendants, all the families of the earth will find their blessing in you.
~ Genesis 12:3
I’ve begun a leisurely stroll through the Bible in The Voice – it’s creators calling it a translation based on “contextual equivalence” which they define as a translation technique that “seeks to convey the original language accurately while rendering the literary structures and character of a text in readable and meaningful contemporary language”; an approach that “keeps in mind the smaller parts and the larger whole” and “captures uniquely the poetic imagery and literary artistry of the original in a way that is beautiful and meaningful.”
All I know is it works for me. Imagine that. A translation intentionally engaging the imagination and aiming at beauty and meaning! It’s been awhile since I’ve had this much fun reading an English translation. I find myself being carried away by turns in texts I would never have guessed had it in them – which is, I suppose, a key mark of success in any biblical translation effort.
Take this turn in Genesis 12:3.
“Bless you,” we frequently say. Especially after sneezes.
“Bless you.” Nice, but what does that mean?
The conferring of a divine benefit or gift, perhaps?
An inspirational download?
A God-pat on the back?
We could commence a verbal digging into the land of word studies, turning over Hebrew and Greek topsoil and seeking the roots. Yes, that’s one way of going about it. But the slight turn in The Voice with their elaborating addition of “and further you in your journey” – wow. It opens up vistas of meaning.
What a concept!
To further someone in their journey is to bless them; to bless them is to further them in their journey. To impede your progress, to trip you up on your way is to curse you.
That just put some teeth in this for me.
Who am I impeding in their journey – no matter how sweet and sound be the verbiage from my lips? Who am I furthering in their journey – no matter how uncouth, clumsy, fumbling or “cursing” my speech my seem?
Ah, now these be good questions for the day…